Canto 76: Coalesence

A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won.
The skies no longer rain death – the seas bare only commerce –
men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight.

General Douglas MacArthur


Victory in Japan

See, Pahana
how we nest
in your ruins
Wendy Rose

Today the fever of the globe subsides,
Some Monadnock restored unto the world,
Across Missouri’s deck MacArthur strides,
For him the battle banners sadly furl’d;
His brood had brought
The safety of the Earth,
Full fiercely had they fought for lasting Freedom’s birth.

War brands a mark upon the slave
& hurls him to the slaughter,
Death pins a badge upon the brave,
Whose names are writ in water,
Fate carves respects into each grave,
Memorized forever…
Forever, ah! forever but to be
Forgotten like the Spanish Tragedie.

Most odoriferous conflict
Of ghost-dim histories,
A multi-victim count edict
To gross stupidities,
Gone trompeting blood knowledge of Man’s capabilities.

Tokyo Bay
August 14th
1945


Peace

Shall they return to beatings of great bells
In wild train-loads?
A few, a few, too few for drums & yells
Wilfred Owen

Full fragrant with the buttercups of June,
Deep Summer’s musk still sunset lingering,
When all of all Selene’s harmony in tune
Reflected in warm-fringed mellowing;
When woods in leaf
By nature gently nurs’d,
Suede moment of relief afore the golden burst.

In a whirl of wars & truces
The pageant of history
Has walk’d well with all the muses
& therin the poetry
Pays good homage to Confucious’
Peaceful testimony,
For surely this a moment of sublime
When Dawn’s lush calm is flusht across a time.

From Darwen to Acapulco,
From Budapest to Lourdes,
From Palermo to Tokyo,
From Ankhorage to Rhodes,
A whisper of sweet silence as the priesthood the scabbard swords.

Earth
August
1945


Nu, Pogodi!

And the fugitives crossed
land & rivers
& swept their trails clean
Simon Ortiz

The five year plans are set back fifty years
Tractors destroy’d, factories ruined heaps
The people have suffer’d too much for tears
& thousands clamp’d upon the camps for keeps;
Mother Russia
Thy red was bled fair white,
& yet, thou art victor, great glory to thy fight!

Fealty to the conqueror!
All soviet together;
Ruthenia, Sakhalia,
Manchuria, Korea,
Estonia & Latvia
With Bessarabia
Plus portions of the Poles & Finnish lands
All eat out of the Kremlin’s Falcon hands.

Upon the wake of raging war
The wolf catches the hare,
From Balkan ore to Baltic shore
The Sickle slices air,
The governments of the old fronts a cordon sanittaire.

Eastern Europe
1945


At Home with the Windsors

Just as of yore the friendly rain
Patters its old and frank refrain;
Just as of yore the world swings by
Sydney Elliott Napier

As morning blossom fluffles oer the grange
The Scottish Highlands caught the ocean breeze
Whipping in o’er the hoary Wicklow range,
Catching the seaswans in their perfect ease;
Blending with snows,
Wylde winds of Helvellyn
Bear pair of mating crows toward the royal kin.

BANG! BANG! shot squawking from the sky,
For two partridges mistook,
The day was late, the king’s throat dry,
Gusty autumn fairly shook
The ailing trees, with trailing sigh
The Queen put down her book
To tenderly stand by her husband’s side,
“Still beautiful…” he thought & blest his bride.

George, I’m glad those days are over,
The ghastliest I’ve seen,”
Stood together, angel daughter
Scampering cross the green,
“Glad Lizzie will inherit a free land when she is queen.”

Balmoral
October
1945


War is Over

a crowd at the gammon,
fair-bosomed women
& crowns being wagered all round
Seamus MacGriogair

The Alps felt the first frost-fall of the year,
A soft, white sheet to blanket all with snow,
Jean Francois look’d down from a higher tier
Upon the rooves of Briancon below;
With scarfless throat,
No spike, no pick, no rope,
Like some rough mountain goat he scamper’d down the slope.

By underwater mountain stream,
Crystal waters crisp & clear,
Jean descended as if adream,
Startl’d herds of roving deer
Sent scattering by friendly beam,
Then as the inn grew near,
He thank’d his god, his land, his libertie,
Cursing the name infernal of Nazi.

He steps into ‘Les Montemar,’
Life lazes at a pace,
Walks to the bar, “Stella Artois…”
“Huit francs…” straight waitor-face,
“Huit francs! Huit francs pour un Artois, monsieur c’est un disgrace!”

France
September
1945


P.O.W.

A dreadful solitude each mind insane,
Each its own place, its prison all alone,
And finds no sympathy to soften pain
J.A. Heraud

Danny watch’d his brutal abandonment,
With fellow Aussie yellows left to die,
In this hell has perish’d the innocent,
Starv’d, tortur’d & the malarial fly;
More-or-less ghouls
This huckl’d skeletal
Lives buckl’d under rules, abandoned & brittle.

A week had pass’d & still no sign
Of the world that went outside,
‘Til down the Burmese railway line,
Where the ghosts of death abide,
A healthy force, fresh-fac’d & fine
Victorious, allied,
Came on to free their comrades from they camps
Are they soldiers?” life flickers in the lamps.

Danny ferried to Malaya,
Where all his woes began
Insane soldier, aeons older,
Forever alter’d man,
A vague & vanquish’d victim of imperial Japan.

September
1945


Meeting the Parents

The world has nothing to bestow;
From our own selves our joys must flow,
And that dear hut, our home
Nathaniel Cotton

To the vale twixt Pendle & Hameldon,
Carlton Dillinger rail’d his Christmas leave,
Stept into an alien environ
Where terraces thro’ chimney forests weave;
Ah! there she stood,
Like some broad from the farms,
Countenance calm & good, their cherub in her arms.

She led him thro’ those slummish rows,
Humming with community,
Where cloth cap, cobbles & torn clothes
Hardest work’d for Victory,
Upon the front door-step stood Rose,
&, behind her, Charlie,
Glowing in his grand-paternal summer,
Yer may be a Yank but yer a Sumner!”

Despite six years of hardship pass’d,
Christmas found the Winners,
War’s awful blast finsh’d at last
&, to top their dinners,
“I’ve bin ter Flossy Bennets fer a pound o’ bananas!”

Burnley
Christmas Day
1945


Jubilations

Only the living can have fun.
Die – & what have we become
but lonely heaps of ash & bone
Ascelpiades

It seems a parody of the psyche
That man should revel in the loss of life,
When triumph oversets grief’s maladie,
A ginger straw clutch’d by a grieving wife;
As tickertape
Brings snowfall to the skies,
Full flows the malt & grape as gorged are apple pies.

Patton performs his Alpha role
At a banjie jamboree,
Which thro flag-happy streets dost roll
For the love of victory,
When his own contreemen did call
He led them all safely
Thro all the carnage & the crush of war:
Stepping inside from the popular roar

He levels with Eisenhower,
My friend, the time is now!
This is the hour, we have the power,
Let’s push on to Moscow
& drive those stinkin’ Commies all the way back to Macau!”

New York
New Year’s Day
1946


The Last Grunfeld

There is no hope: “in all this world
There is no other wisdom
Than ours: we have understood the world”
Randall Jarell

At first her body had refused the food,
But soon she made a full recovery,
But for the empty void that was her brood,
A family without a family:
Her thoughts ascrew,
Her soul too shock’d to grieve,
What Anna had lived thro’ no modern could believe.

The hospital left in the dark
That is the day of Winter,
Small portion of this new ‘Deutschmark’
Was all the Allies leant her,
She took a seat in leaf-shorn park,
Took a seat with nature,
The nature of a cold & hostile land,
Could anybody ever understand?

She stood there huddl’d in the damp,
O lowly echelon,
Crude bench her camp, waiting the lamp…
Since Titus & Chillon,
The vicarious atonement of the anointed one.

Germany
March
1946


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